With spring break just around the corner and summer vacation trips not far behind, it’s a good time to make sure you’re up to speed on keeping children safe in the car.
First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure your vehicle is properly equipped for child safety. Car-related injuries are a leading cause of death among children in this country, so it’s important to get this right, down to every last detail.
The Timeline of Car Seat Recommendations
The general rule of thumb for keeping your kids safe in the car is to buckle them in using the right equipment. Keep in mind: that depends on how old your child is and that some kids will graduate to the next level before others.
Resources for learning about the right equipment are widely available, but here’s a quick summary:
Age-Based Timeline of Proper Equipment
- Birth – 3 Years: A rear-facing car seat (reduces risk of death by 54% – 71%!)
- 1 – 7 Years: A forward-facing car seat
- 4 – 12 Years: A booster seat (reduces risk of death by 45%)
- 8 – 12 Years and Up: A seat belt (reduces risk of death by about 50%)
If you’re noticing some overlap in those age brackets, it’s due to the varying growth rates of children. Graduating to the next level of car safety equipment is dependent on age, height, and weight.
In general, keep your child as low on the equipment spectrum as possible. That means, for example, keep him or her in the forward-facing seat as long as you can. Once your child no longer fits within the specs of the seat manufacturer’s guidelines, it’s time to move up.
To simplify the decision-making process, try this handy federal government tool. Don’t forget to check the expiration date on the car seat you’re using, and don’t hesitate to toss it if it’s expired. Check for recalls, too, and always be sure you’re installing your seats properly.
A Final Word on Car Safety
Using proper car seats for your kids isn’t the only way to keep them safe on the road. We’ll leave you with a few important reminders:
- Prevent heatstroke. Never leave your child alone in a vehicle. Not even for a minute.
- Prevent injuries. Loose objects can become hazards in the car. Secure them just as you would when flying in an airplane.
- Prevent serious injuries. If your child is under the age of 12, keep him or her in the backseat.
If your family is in an accident and your child suffers an injury that may be due to defective safety features, get medical treatment right away, then contact us by calling 904-251-1111 or 800-251-1111 to speak with one of our experienced auto accident or product liability attorneys. We’re standing by 24 hours a day, because accidents don’t just happen 9am to 5pm. We’ll gladly schedule a free consultation with one of our car accident attorneys to determine the strength of your case.